Bacopa Benefits: A Nootropic Herb for Sharpening Brain Functions
Bacopa monnieri, also referred as Brahmi or water hyssop, is a perennial plant used in Ayurveda and herbal medicines. It is known that in India bacopa is given to children from early childhood to enhance cognitive and memory functioning.
Bacopa benefits include treatment of many ailments such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, epilepsy, and anxiety issues. Surely, all these ailments have over-the-counter medicines and psychotropic drugs for treating and reducing the effects. However, bacopa monnieri does not come with severe side effects like psychotropic drugs.
Some people even use it for other bacopa benefits such as joint pain, back pain, and for treating sexual performance issues.
Let’s explore some bacopa benefits in enhancing brain functions:
Enhances Mental Functioning
Bacosides, a chemical compound found in bacopa, can enhance learning, memory, and brain functions. This compound promotes and enhances kinase functioning of our brain which means breaking down of substances so that they can be used by our brain cells. It improves memory retention and helps people who suffer from short-term forgetfulness.
A review of bacopa benefits by Rejuvenation Research says that bacopa has the power to promote healing in people with cognitive disorders.
Works as an Anti-Depressant
It is surprising that the bacopa benefits and helps in reducing stress, anxiety, and depression. An animal study published by the University of Michigan says that bacosides present in bacopa could reduce both depression and anxiety.
In this research, bacosides, the main element responsible for healing effects of bacopa, was used in both forms: extract of bacopa and purified bacosides. It had an overall positive effect on mental and cognitive functions, depression, and anxiety.
Helps Reduce Stress
It is even hard to believe that 90% people who reach out to their primary care physicians have stress-related issues and complaints. Stress, especially chronic or severe stress, hampers our body functioning and affects us both physically and mentally. And maybe that is the reason why people, who are looking forward to living a healthier life, primarily focus on reducing stress.
Bacopa monnieri is a stress reducer that assists our body to cope up with varying levels of stress. Moreover, bacopa contains adaptogenic properties which help in lowering stress and chronic stress.
Bacopa is also an effective substance for reducing pain and inflammation in the body. As already discussed, people who have chronic pain such as back pain, joint pain, etc. use bacopa as an herbal or Ayurveda medicine to decrease discomfort. In fact, a study believes that bacopa extracts can help in healing Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Assists in Epilepsy Treatment
Epilepsy is neurological disorder related to the central nervous system, due to which brain cells send out faulty signals. It generally leads to seizures, sensations, and awareness loss.
An experiment studied the effects of bacopa monnieri on epilepsy in a rat trail. It shows that bacopa monnieri treatment, when given to rats with epilepsy, has significant improvements in epilepsy symptoms and seizures.
Stimulates Alzheimer’s and Dementia Treatment
Alzheimer’s is a brain disorder that causes loss of memory, reduces cognitive functions, decreases the ability to carry out daily tasks, and dementia. Dementia is a term used for the decline in a person’s cognitive ability that hinders day-to-day functions.
Oxidative stress plays a major role in Alzheimer’s disease, as it is responsible for free radical generation. Though oxygen is necessary for our survival, its excess can cause the formation of ROS (reactive oxygen species) which can lead to brain damage. Many studies have shown that bacopa monnieri has antioxidant capabilities. It reduces free radical generation and proves as a promising agent in decreasing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Regulates Blood Pressure
The nitrate goes through various steps in our body to form nitric oxide, which helps in regulating blood pressure. People with a low level of nitric oxide have high blood pressure. If we look at this trail on anaesthetized rats, it shows that bacopa monnieri assists in regulating blood pressure by promoting endothelium to release nitric oxide. Once nitric oxide is released, blood pressure reduces.
Promotes ADHD Treatment
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is again a brain disorder which leads to hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsiveness. Here, hyperactivity indicates fidgeting, impulsiveness is making hasty decisions, and inattention is lack of focus.
In a trail, 30 children of age 6 to 12, diagnosed with ADHD, were given 225 mg/day dosage of bacopa monnieri for 6 months. Though it is known that approximately 30% children with ADHD are unable to tolerate or respond to treatment, bacopa was well received by participants. There was an overall reduction in restlessness in 93% children, improvement in self-control in 89% children, and a decrease in attention deficit in 85% children.
Bacopa benefits are widespread. No wonder, it is being used in Indian herbal and Ayurveda medicines for centuries now. If you look at the ingredients of Indian herbal medicines, you’ll easily spot bacopa monnieri in some.
The bottom line is though you can always shift to over-the-counter and psychotropic medicines and drugs, it won’t harm to try bacopa monnieri as an alternative method. This natural herb has a lot of potential and can do wonders if taken regularly.